Businessweek reported that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) decided to further delay the enforcement of mandatory third party testing of a range of products meant for children.
The Commission decided to prolong the life span for untested products due to arguments from smaller manufacturers that they could not bear the costs for third party tests and still survive. After threats of job cuts the commission is postponing tests until the end of the year and the whole decision is coming under scrutiny according to Businessweek on the 1st of February.
Hearing this makes me disheartened. For one there is no debate regarding the consequences for children using these toys neither from a cost perspective when and if they get sick or from a moral perspective. Secondly even though these costs are difficult to bear and third party testing can be expensive this line of argument is used time and again by manufacturers in order to influence politicians into tearing up legislation or vote against bans. The same happened in Europe during the late discussions of the RoHS directive where Paxymer was involved.
There is a strong incentive for politicians to limit short-term losses and ignore the long-term effects of not following through with a ban. These issues are serious and need to be addressed. These substances accumulate and stay in humans; some are even transferred between generations. We have to act on what we know. Talk is cheap but change is costly and difficult and requires commitment and dedication. It is crucial that new, safer alternatives get a fair chance and that those who stick to old alternatives against better judgement are held accountable for their actions.
Managing director of Paxymer